In 2007, thirty-nine years after he graduated from high school, the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) recognized Reaves as one of the "100 Greatest Players of the First 100 Years" of Florida high school football.
His record as the NCAA's all-time career leader in passing yards was achieved after a controversial fourth-quarter play in the last game of the 1971 regular season, when most members of the Florida Gators defense laid down on the field in the fourth quarter, allowing the Miami Hurricanes to score a touchdown with enough time for Florida's offense to get the ball back so Reaves could set the record. The event is commonly referred to as the "Florida Flop," and is often recalled bitterly by Hurricanes alumni and fans.
Reaves was selected in the first round (fourteenth pick overall) of the 1972 NFL Draft by the Philadelphia Eagles, and he played for the Eagles from 1972 to 1974. He was then traded to the Cincinnati Bengals in 1975, claimed off waivers by the Minnesota Vikings in 1979, and signed to the Houston Oilers in 1981. Reaves jumped to the expansion Tampa Bay Bandits of the start-up USFL in 1983; he was the Bandits' starting quarterback for three seasons under head coach Steve Spurrier in a pass-oriented offense. The 1983 season was aborted by a wrist injury. However, he still managed to complete 139 passes out of 259 attempts. He threw for 1,276 yard, but tossed 16 interceptions compared to 9 touchdown passes. He bounced back in 1984, going 313 out of 544, tossing for 4,092 yards, and tossing 28 touchdowns, compared to 16 interceptions. This was the only USFL season in which he threw more touchdowns than interceptions. In the league's final season, 1985, he was 314 for 561, tossed 29 interceptions compared to 25 touchdown passes.  After the USFL dissolved after the 1985 season, Reaves returned to the NFL for one final season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1987. Reaves' NFL career was that of a journeyman back-up—and his NFL career total of 3,417 yards showed it. In Reaves' two seasons as the Bandits' full-time starting quarterback, however, he threw for over 4,000 yards passing both years (1984 and 1985), and just over 10,000 total yards in his three-season USFL career (1983–1985).
Life after the NFL
Reaves was an assistant football coach for the Florida Gators under head coach Steve Spurrier from 1990 to 1992 and again in 1994, working primarily with the Gators quarterbacks, including Shane Matthews. He left Gainesville to become an assistant coach for the South Carolina Gamecocks under head coach Brad Scott from 1995 to 1997.
Reaves was arrested on gun and drug possession charges in 2008. Reaves entered an Atlanta area substance abuse rehabilitation program in May 2009.